Online dating services Match.com, eHarmony, and Spark Networks (geared toward certain ethnic and religious groups) have all pledged to step up their efforts to protect members from predators, the California attorney general’s office announced yesterday.
In a statement, the sites said they will check subscribers against national sex registries, offer a simple way to report abuses, and make online safety tips available to members, the Associated Press reports. They also agreed to report suspected criminal activity to the attorney general.
The statement is nonbinding and carries no enforcement penalties, but it does publicly hold dating sites to account for their members’ safety, said Lynda Gledhill, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office.
“They can’t be sued for not following this, but it puts them in the public eye,” she said.
The pledge comes on the heels of a 2010 sexual assault on a woman by a man she met on Match.com. He was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest to sexual battery by restraint.
The sites say they hope to set an example for the industry. For tips on how to avoid online dating money-making scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website, and heed its number-one piece of advice: “An online love interest who asks for money is almost certainly a scam artist.”
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